Second-rate regional reduxThose of you just joining our saga need to know that our gentle and delicate heroine has been forced, by the exigencies of the tenure line, to relocate from the unfortunately-acronymed Cool Urban Metropolis to the nearby Second-Rate Regional City down the road. She recently recounted for her gentle readers the tragic tale of an encounter with Bad Chai, which engendered paroxysms of despair over her ongoing exile from her former haunts. In fairness to SRRC, she now feels compelled to report in equal detail the unexpected pleasures of her new, albeit far less desireable, hometown.
This past weekend, our kindly heroine set off in search of her weekly ration of fresh produce with which to nourish her small daughter and ailing husband. Being a lady of gentle breeding and stalwart constitution, she selected for her conveyance the second-smallest of the family's extensive collection of transportation, a mode that ensured a comfortable ride for her beloved offspring, and guaranteed that she herself must use God's own conveyance, her dainty feet.
The morning was crisp and clear, with the promise of intense sunshine, as our heroine and her beloved daughter set out for market. They were delighted by the cool, shaded streets of well-kept abodes, the industrious activities of the ordinary folk who inhabit this quaint burg. The produce was uniformly delightful, the shopkeepers accomodating, and the prices reasonable. After procuring the necessary items, our two heroines set out for home, only to encounter, all unexpected, a charmingly humble village fete in honor of a departing and much-beloved shopkeeper. After feasting on fine cakes and ale supplied in honor of Mr. A— R—, and mingling for suitable time among the lesser residents, Heroine and Lovely Daughter continued their weary way home. As they strolled, surreptitiously feeding themselves upon the fresh-picked blackberries they had purchased, they encountered not one, not two, but three kindly townsfolk, who engaged them in pleasant conversation regarding the weather (unseasonably hot and sunny for our fair clime), the proper care of the garden (including a manly demonstration of a sophisticated tool for the extraction of undesireable species therefrom), and the importance of proper child rearing (namely, the necessity of preventing said children from ingesting inedible substances found along the road).
Gentle reader, your heroine was, quite simply, flabbergasted. Not once, in all of her daily errands in Cool Urban Met, had she encountered the sheerly audacious friendliness of this lesser folk. Despite the fine beverages, superior shopping, and generally excellent features of her former home, she felt the first stirrings of--could it be, affection?--for the determined little town of which she was now a member. She was pleasantly surprised to find among her fellow SRRC dwellers little obvious sense of their inferior township, their limited opportunities, their lack of urban chic. Instead, these folk seemed uniformly content with their dowdy lot in life, unaware of the exalted reputation of their sophisticated Urban neighbor, and free of the nagging certainty that they were Missing Something.
Thus, dear readers, your heroine begins this week with renewed enthusiasm for her quaint new home, and for the simple folk who dwell therein. No more shall she long in vain for extensive independently-owned bookstores, unsweetened chai brewed like tea should be, or shops wherein can be purchased items in quantities of less than 50. She embraces the sweet pleasures of SRRC.
And besides, Cool Urban Met is just up the road. And she still has oodles of credit at that fabulous used bookstore she once frequented.